Leading up to the Los Angeles Rams’ Super Bowl victory over the Cincinnati Bengals, there was chatting that Aaron Donald was thinking about retiring.
Donald has received every accolade there is for a defensive player and after winning a Super Bowl, there was nothing left for him to accomplish.
The 31-year-old put Rams fans at ease a bit at the Super Bowl parade, announcing that he would ‘run it back’ as long as the team brought back key free agents.
Donald was referring to Von Miller and Odell Beckham Jr., neither of which are currently on the Rams’ roster. Miller signed with the Buffalo Bills in free agency and Beckham remains a free agent, although a return to L.A. is still a possibility.
The Rams did load up by adding Allen Robinson and Bobby Wagner though, and although Donald has not yet signed an extension, Sean McVay has remained confident that his star defensive tackle will be back in 2022.
Until an extension gets done though, the possibility of retirement remains, and Donald discussed it during an appearance on Brandon Marshall’s “I Am Athlete” podcast:
“It ain’t about the money, but it’s a business at the end of the day. That’s what you’ve got to see. For me, it’s about winning. I don’t want to play football if I can’t win anyway, so I feel like if I got a real opportunity to win another Super Bowl, then it makes sense to play. But again, it’s still a business. We’ve got to handle the business side of things, and if that wasn’t to get handled then, you know, it is what it is type of situation. I’ll be fine regardless. But me talking about retirement, that was happening way before we won a Super Bowl. I’ve been saying that since I got into the league that I was going to play eight years and be done. That’s just what I’ve been saying. It just came out and then everybody think that, ‘oh, he said if he wins a Super Bowl he’s going to retire.’ Nah, I got teammates, coaches, my family who know about this. I said I’m going to play eight years, and I’m going to probably be done playing football. But winning a Super Bowl you get kind of a little addicted to it. I ain’t going to lie. I want to feel that again. That experience is like none other. If I was to play, it’s just to win another Super Bowl, but at the end of the day, it’s still a business and it got to make sense to me and my family.”
Donald concluded that he doesn’t necessarily need to play football if a deal doesn’t get done:
“I don’t need to play football to be fine. I’m fine. I was blessed to play this game, to make the money I made, the accomplishments I made in eight years is, like, I’m complete. If I can win another one, that’s great. But if not, I’m at peace.”
Both sides have remained confident that a deal will get done all offseason, so even though it’s taking longer than expected, it doesn’t necessarily mean anything has changed.
Donald remains the most feared defensive player in football and the Rams are well-aware of his importance. With the threat of retirement still looming, it will be up to them to get to the contract number Donald is looking for in order to gear up for a title defense in 2022.